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Design Of The Ford Ka - Legends of the SMOL


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^^^ Yes, the car (and myself) are in Ireland!

Co. Down plate, so it hasn't travelled all that far.

Premises are a kind of performance garage and shiny shiny bodyshop kinda place ('Automanic Carnoisseur') with a lot of older, unsual vehicles coming in and out, so not just your run-of-the-mill demolition site cheap car chancer. They have a handful of cars off to the side with handwritten For Sale signs.

Quick search online brings up the word 'fussy' when referring to the owner's take on detailing and paintwork... though that may or may not mean he's an Isopon genius.


I may* be interested in giving it another casual glance when it's dry.

I will be bringing a magnet.

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Edit: in a flashback / rain man moment I remembered the reg.

MOT checker says it has never been tested.

Shirley she didn't do enough damage to write it off?

Maybe another careless owner bought it and smashed it up.


I think MOT history online only goes back to 2005 - so it could have been scrapped at 7 years old and nothing would come up. Wonder what the average life expectancy of the mk1 Ka was...

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An early Ka was my first ‘proper’ car once I passed my test. I had started out with a mk2 Fiesta L which never saw the road as it was properly rotten. I sold it on for the same £50 I paid for it to a mechanic who was going to XR2 it or something.


Since then I’ve had a SportKa, which was everything good about the original magnified. Sublime handling, sweet gear change and good low down torque. It didn’t deal with any of the drawbacks mind, wheezy at high revs, rust prone and not particularly good on fuel for the size of car.


I love ‘em though. I have a Y-plate Ka ‘Collection’ squirrelled away. 44k on the clock. A family heirloom that now lives in South West France away from the rain and salt.

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I have a small workshop based on a farm that has a few enthusiast types storing odd chod and coming up for a weekend fettle away from the wife. If I'm there, it needs the ramp and it's usually a hurry to get it done due to the distance out of town. Just pulled a Toyota in when a chap 3 units down comes wandering up with a bit of metal in his hands "cor... I've had a right game putting this patch in, even on the lowest setting it's blowing holes"


51 plate Ka, arc welder.


Like trying to refloat the titanic with a party balloon

Off topic thread drift YO - is there any spare space at this farm Mr Aspley? I have need for room to store something for occasional fettling and weekend jaunts. And you're not massively far away....
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As an aside, I went back on Saturday and had another look at that blue SportKa 'RS' in the dry.

First I looked at the scratched paint along with various scuffs.

Then I looked at the bubbles on the rear quarters, above the bumpers, and around the boot latch.

Then I looked at the bubbles appearing on the rear quarter 9" from the fuel filler, where a repair panel has clearly been welded in at some point.

Then I looked at the split inner wing at the rear n/s.

Then I looked at the thick black underseal that had been recently gobbed onto the sills using a fence brush.

Then I looked at the £725 price tag, and considered the fact the MOT runs out in six weeks.

Then I walked away.


And that, kids, is why we don't buy cars in the rain.



(That said, if it were £200 and I had a barn needing filled, I totally would have gone for it.)

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  • 5 months later...

OJZ8486 KaSport.png

Just took a walk past yesterday and that SportKa's still hanging around, with the MOT now expired and sat on SORN.

Not sure if the dealer realises it's fucked and hence no point putting it in for a test, and whether they're planning on either fixing it or stripping it for spares.

One thing's for sure, if they want to keep it they'd be best putting it away in the dry, as I doubt there'll be much left of this 'un come the spring...

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I need a Streetka.

What was your crime?


I still admire Ford’s effort in keeping the 1970’s alive.

Just a shame that when the design board meeting concluded that the Ka needed ‘a retro element’, that the YTS student who must have been left in charge assumed they wished for it to be reflected in build and rustproofing quality.


Here are a few of the little ginger infested shitters for the fan club’s delectation.















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  • 7 months later...

My first car. Thing is, from new it's doors didn't fit properly. The tailgate hinges had rust at their bases and if one went through a puddle quickly enough, the plastic wheel arch trims would pop out. 

Great memories of it. I drove an early one as a Courtesy Car. It was bASe specification and I could see my later one had been "Decontented" despite being a 3...

Fun to throw around. I may* have had a couple of little incidents with mine. I learned that there are limits to grip even though it didn't roll in corners! 

Was replaced with a sensible German hatchback with rustproofing... 

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20 minutes ago, Longbridge Apologist said:

Christ I want one now. Remember friends step dad absolutely ragging a courtesy one to death in 1998. It felt the fastest thing on the road. Used to sitting in friends 1L Metros, this thing was like a rocket!

I suspect that was down to the size of them, they weren't that quick other than round corners

When I had my little Starlet, I followed my Dad to my sister's house. My dad had just serviced my sister's Ka and was driving it back to Drogheda and I was bringing him back home. Cue some "fun", pulling onto the M4. The Starlet, a bigger car was leaving the Ka for dust accelerating up a hill despite both being 1.3s. The Starlet had about 20 extra BHP and twin cams (and was nearly ten years older than the Ka). The Ka was just slow. 

Just went to show how aneamic the 1.3 endura engine was. Oil filter was also in a stupid place. Probably a hang up from when the engine was mounted longitudinally in a Cortina or something. 

Suppose that was typical Ford. New clever design but keep the old engine from the previous generation. Where a lot of the Jap stuff was very humdrum paired to excellent engines.

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There was absolutely no comparison between that Starlet and the early Ka performance wise: I drove both quite a bit, and the Starlet could punch well above its' class, whereas the Ka...yeah, acceleration wasn't its' forte. Fine once you wound it up, but the wee Toyota would show it the way home every time. 

There were any number of engines Ford could've fitted to that, and the wee 1.25 Yamaha joint venture Zetec (I think, iirc) was a prime candidate. But then, it was only the sump that prevented the 2L Zetec going in that platform easily (again, from memory) but people had developed patterns to fix that, by then. Either of the MK3 RS Fester engines dropped in fairly well! And it wasn't as if the pushrod lump was lacking tuning options in itself...

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Going back to the original post, I remember they had a mk1 Tigra on blue Peter in about 1993, it was the copper colour and they had some kid on as well - could it have been this? I remember it as it was the first time I saw it and had major wanting for one.

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